Marketing cookbooks over the Internet seems to have very little to do with religious beliefs. BUT I am even more excited about promoting the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ and how He can change lives than I am about promoting the sale of my cookbook. That is why I am adding a "bonus" page to my website -- I want moms everywhere to know about Jesus, and especially how to communicate those truths to the young souls that are in their care -- spiritual food to go along with the physical food you feed them every day.
In teaching Vacation Bible School to the preschool age for several years, I have come up with a simple visual way to explain the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ. It is uncomplicated and straightforward enough for 3- and 4-year-olds to understand, and yet it is all based on the truths taught in the Holy Bible.
To present the "markerboard gospel," you will need the following items:
- a small dry-erase board
- a black dry-erase marker
- a piece of red cloth
- a picture of Jesus on the cross
Use the glue to "draw" a heart shape on the markerboard, then lay yarn in the wet glue to form a visible heart. (See Picture 1) Let this dry overnight and then you are ready to explain to kids about how Jesus can clean our hearts. The following is what I say when I'm explaining this to little ones.
"This represents your heart -- the part of you inside that no one but God can see. (I Samuel 16:7) We all want to have clean hearts, but sometimes we do things that are not right. Maybe there is a time that you have hit your sister [make a black mark inside the heart with the dry-erase marker -- See Picture 2] or maybe there is a time that you told your mommy 'no' because you didn't want to do what she told you to. Maybe you have told a lie -- something that didn't really happen, but you wanted people to think it did. Or maybe you have taken a toy or a piece of candy that wasn't yours. [Keep making black marks on the heart as you think of examples.]
"All of these bad things are called SIN and they make us have hearts that are black, not clean. (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23) It would be nice to have a clean heart but there is only ONE WAY that we can get a clean heart. (John 14:6)
[Hold up the picture of Jesus on the cross -- See Picture 3.] "I have told you lots of stories about Jesus and all the wonderful things He did. Remember that He was very special, as He lived as a man, but He was really God too. (John 10:30) One day, some mean men wanted Jesus to die. They put nails in his hands and his feet to hold Him to a cross. This really hurt Jesus' body, but these men wanted Him to die. (Matthew 27:32-56) Do you know what comes out of your body when you get a boo-boo? [Kids answer "blood."] And what color is blood? [Kids answer "red."] That is right. Jesus' red blood came out of his body and [hold up the red cloth] that is the ONE THING that can clean our hearts again. (Hebrews 10:22, 26-28)
"If we will ask Jesus, He will use His special blood to clean our hearts [begin to use the red cloth to wipe away the black marks -- See Picture 4]. He died on the cross so that He could do that for us. [Keep wiping until the heart is completely clean again.] That way, we can have a clean heart forever. (Psalm 51:10; Acts 15:8-9)
[In subsequent lessons, we review all of the above information and then add two other important truths.]
Truth #1: "Jesus did die on the cross. He was completely dead, and His friends took His body off the cross and put it inside a big open rock (like a cave) called a tomb. A big heavy rock was put in front of the opening so that no one could go in or out. BUT three days after He died on the cross, His body started working again. He came back from being dead and He is alive again. (Matthew 27:57 -- 28:15) Jesus has power that is stronger even than death. (Hebrews 2:14-15) After his friends saw Him for many days (Luke 24:13-49), he went up into the clouds -- like a helium balloon when you let it go. (Luke 24:50-53) He is still living somewhere up there in a place called heaven.
Truth #2: "Jesus is making a place for His friends to come live with Him in heaven. (John 14:2-3) If you have a clean heart, you can go live there with Him too, after your body stops working. That is why it is so important to ask Jesus to give you a clean heart. You see, this place called HEAVEN is so beautiful and so perfect, that nothing bad is allowed to come in. (Revelation 21) Close your eyes and try to imagine a place that is full of gold and diamonds [I show kids my wedding ring so they know about gold and diamonds] and other beautiful stones and rocks. A place where it is always light, and no one ever cries or gets hurt. Since this place is so perfect, God can't let anyone with a dirty black heart into HEAVEN. (Revelation 21:27) Jesus has already given us His blood, the ONE THING WE NEED, to have clean hearts, but you need to ask Him to use it on your heart so that someday you can live with Him there." (John 3:16; John 20:31; Acts 2:21)
And that is it in a nutshell. I've been surprised at how many kids relate to this and understand the message and are ready to ask Jesus to clean their hearts at such a young age -- and they mean it.
There are many other things to learn about God and Jesus, but the message of the salvation Jesus Christ offers is crucial to communicate to kids. And after a decision to trust Jesus and the power of His cleansing blood, there are still many trials and lessons to be learned in life. But a child who learns to put his or her faith in Jesus at an early age can continue to learn from Him!
I've included references to Bible verses so that you know I'm not making this up on my own. It is simply a way to explain what God says is true in the Bible. I do not read these verses to the kids during our brief lessons, but as my own children have grown, we have had many discussions based on these and other verses. For an online Bible, check out the following website: www.biblegateway.com
Also, the photo that I included of Jesus on the cross is from a book by Kenneth N. Taylor called "The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes," copyright 1956 by Moody Bible Institute. I highly recommend reading the whole book, one page a day, with your young child as a foundation for understanding God and how He has worked in the world long ago.
If you would like some further information or adult helps on understanding the Good News of Jesus Christ, I highly recommend the following webpages:
To watch a Bible-based movie about Jesus, go to www.jesusfilm.org/languages/index.html